Everybody wants to look and feel their best. Aging takes a toll on us all, but exactly how steep of a toll you’ll end up paying is often up to you. And that’s where the importance of having a healthy lifestyle comes in. In recognition of healthy aging month, take a few minutes to consider some of the simple lifestyle changes you can make to help you age a little more gracefully.
Healthy Aging Tips for Men
No matter your gender, you should always take care of your skin. Unfortunately, men need to be reminded of this more than women. For men who aren’t enthusiastic about the prospect of slathering on lotion, it’s worth knowing that dermatologists have shown that perceptions of male youth and attractiveness are largely based on having an even complexion and skin tone. That means if you take care of your skin, you can do a lot to restore an image of youth.
Good skin care includes avoiding the sun whenever possible and frequently reapplying sunscreen when it’s not. It’s equally important to moisturize and exfoliate – especially after taking a hot bath or shower. That’s because dryness can exaggerate signs of aging, including wrinkles. Adding a little more water to your diet also helps because your skin needs to be hydrated like every other organ.
Tips for Women
As women age, they are at an increased risk for a variety of conditions that were of little concern in their youth. A large part of healthy aging for women is managing those conditions and your risks of developing them. For example, after the age of 65, women are just as likely as men to suffer from high blood pressure. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, and switching to a heart-healthy diet can be as simple as cutting down on sugar, sodium, and trans-fats.
Osteoporosis is another disease more likely to affect women, especially those over the age of 50. While there’s no cure, it can be slowed with prescription medications, dietary changes, and lifestyle changes. Along with your regular mammogram, women over 65 should consider regular screenings for their blood pressure, cholesterol, osteoporosis, STIs, and colon cancer.
Staying Healthy as You Age
Many of the things you can do to age gracefully are the same for both men and women. For example, exercise doesn’t just make you look fit; it can increase your available energy and slow down aging on the cellular level. Both men and women should also limit their alcohol intake to one drink or less, and give up smoking entirely. That’s because smoking doesn’t only create yellow teeth and wrinkles; it also can actually accelerate aging.
Cognitive decline is a natural part of aging. But you can slow that decline by keeping your mind challenged. Learn new things, try a new language, and attend lectures at a university, read a novel. One of the best tips for healthy aging that you can take is to simply keep your mind active.
Like younger adults, older adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every night. When you start losing sleep, you start gaining memory problems, irritability, depression, and an increased risk of suffering a fall. For those who have a hard time keeping a regular sleep schedule, try to only take caffeine early in the day, and avoid watching television or using the Internet in bed. It’s not only psychologically more difficult to fall asleep after you’ve been stimulated by entertainment — the blue light in these devices actually works to keep your brain awake.
Focus on Healthy Aging
Aging can lead to isolation. If you don’t take active steps to be social, you might find you opt for solitude because it’s easier. But isolation and loneliness is terrible for health. Whether it’s reconnecting with family, making new friends, or just meeting people around your community, staying social can be just as important to your healthy as eating right and exercising. Thankfully, all the work you put into looking your best will only make connecting with others that much easier!
What are some of your tips for aging better and enjoying life more at any age? Let us know in the comments below.